cat's-paw

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cat's-paw

A person who is used by another to achieve some end, especially in a duplicitous or cynical manner. Taken from a fable about a monkey who tricks a cat into using his a paw to retrieve chestnuts from a fire. The phrase is sometimes spelled without a hyphen. I thought that Jake really loved me, but in the end, I was just a cat's-paw so he could stir up jealousy in his ex-boyfriend.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cat's paw

A dupe or tool for another, a sucker, as in You always try to make a cat's paw of me, but I refuse to do any more of your work. This term alludes to a very old tale about a monkey that persuades a cat to pull chestnuts out of the fire so as to avoid burning its own paws. The story dates from the 16th century and versions of it (some with a dog) exist in many languages.
See also: paw
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
But in the last stanza of "The swimmers" it is the whole community who share the unspoken guilt and the dead man is not passed off as a catspaw of interfering liberals:
(33) A few months later he was charged with contempt of court for "allegedly kidnapping" Katie Brown, "a minor given to its mother's custody by the court." In that case the prosecution contended that Kane had become the "catspaw of a certain Private Detective Dillon, who lay claim to [her deceased father's] property in some way." (34)
When Ellison turns to the question of why the Dardanelles campaign decision was made, his chapter titles, "The Catspaw," "Sanhedrim Control," and "Past Warnings" are telling, but his arguments become weaker and not without flaw or bias.
His removal in 362 was prompted by his refusal to act as pagan emperor Julian's catspaw in fomenting Christian infighting.
Many Iraqis see SCIRI as an Iranian catspaw, and it has only localized support within Iraq.
Simulations were programmed in SNOBOL4+[TM] (Catspaw, Inc., 1985), version 2.12, within the Virtual DOS Machine (VDM) of Windows NT.
As a catspaw of government with no natural rights accorded a natural person, UPS has to stop violating the rights of gun owners.
Business leaders purchased scores of newspaper advertisements urging readers to "STAND BY AMERICA," "SHOW UP THE RED AGITATOR FOR WHAT HE IS," and "BEWARE THE AGITATOR WHO MAKES LABOR A CATSPAW FOR BOLSHEVISM." Id.
Simply stated, and in the light of real unvarnished reality, Israel is an expansionist power, pursuing control on its own terms; most of the time, this strategy also coincides with Israel's role as catspaw for the US.
'Love me tender, with catspaw footsteps, let me walk all over you.
(53) Allen Curnow, Trees Effigies Moving Objects (Wellington: Catspaw Press, 1972).
While Gayoom has been using Waheed as his catspaw to implement decisions against Nasheed, he has been using the fundamentalist Islamic Adalaath Party to launch street protests against GMR and the Indian High Commissioner to boot.
In 1952, a pamphlet entitled Rise of Communism in Kashmir rehearsed how the left was using Sheikh Abdullah as a 'catspaw' as they prepared to capture power.
The Unionidae (Mollusca:Bivalvia) of the Walhonding River, Coshocton County, Ohio, including the federally endangered catspaw (Epioblasma obliquata obliquata), fanshell (Cyprogenia stegaria), and clubshell (Pleurobema clava) mussels.